Policy making with behavioral insight

Design of governmental interventions in the recent years has been increasingly influenced by insights gained from behavioral sciences. We provide an overview of the recent report on such policy interventions designed by the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) of the White House and executed in collaboration with other government agencies in 2016 in eight target policy areas.

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PolicyCognittPolicy
Earmarking and Partitioning

DILIP SOMAN , AMAR CHEEMA

This research examines the effects of earmarking money on savings by low-income consumers. In particular, the authors test two interventions that are designed to enhance the effects of earmarking: (1) using a visual reminder of the savings goal and (2) dividing the earmarked money into two parts.

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Confirmation Bias

Raymond S. Nickerson


Confirmation bias, as the term is typically used in the psychological literature, connotes the seeking or interpreting of evidence in ways that are partial to existing beliefs, expectations, or a hypothesis in hand.

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THE POWER OF SUGGESTION

BRIGITTE C. MADRIAN AND DENNIS F. SHEA


This paper analyzes the impact of automatic enrollment on 401(k) savings behavior. We have two key Žndings. First, 401(k) participation is signiŽcantly higher under automatic enrollment. Second, a substantial fraction of 401(k) participants hired under automatic enrollment retain both the default contribution rate and fund allocation even though few employees hired before automatic enrollment picked this particular outcome.

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Comparison Friction

Jeffrey R. Kling, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir, Lee Vermeulen, Marian Wrobel

Consumers need information to compare alternatives for markets to function efficiently. Recognizing this, public policies often pair competition with easy access to comparative information.

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